One of the most touching and inspiring figures of the 20th century is a writer who is considered to be and indeed is popular for being one of the rawest and most apathetic writers of the 20th century.
Even today, still too few and not too many truly appreciate the sensitivity and delicate sensibility that he actually possessed and embodied and expressed. But this is just the way it is and has always been: the more honest and transparent a person gets, inevitably: the more others will relate to this person as they relate to life in general—which is to say: the more they’ll project their own confusions and petty frustrations onto this person.
We still have difficulty with ‘’gambling‘’ (i.e. taking chances) and contending with the truthful and the real. No wonder ‘’everybody is always angry about the truth / even though they claim to / believe in it.’’
At any rate: here are a few of the finest lines by Charles Bukowski I’ve encountered so far. In fact, I’ve put together a little collection that you can download >>here<< if you are interested in more.
and down in the water / the fish cry / and all the water / is their tears.
Christ should have laughed on the cross, / it would have petrified his killers
we must bring / our own light / to the / darkness.
the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them
the bite of reality doesn’t kill, / it only clears the mind.
We need knock nothing down. It’s time we begin picking up. saving what is left. what is worth saving.
nothing’s equal […] the balance is in the differences
if you are telling the truth it’s done without preaching
Everybody thinking that they alone know the angle. Dumb lost egos. I’m one of those.
this is the price we now pay: we can’t go / back, we can’t go forward and we hang helpless, nailed to a / world / of our own / making.
my love grows sadder, my life grows realer.
how we said / no, no, no, no, / to the most beautiful / YES / ever uttered: // life / itself.
The human race exaggerates everything: its heroes, its enemies, its importance.
each evening bent like the point of a thumb tack / that will no longer stick / in / each kiss a hope of returning to the first kiss / each fuck the same / each person nailed against diminishing / returns / we are slaves to hopes that have run to / garbage / as old age / arrives on schedule.
I don’t know why people think effort and energy / have anything to do with / creation.
look Mike, no man is / invincible / someday / you’ll be sent mad by / eyes like a child’s crayon / drawing.
she speaks of love / then breaks each man / to her will / shark-mouthed / grubby interior / we see it too late: / after the cock gets swallowed / the heart follows
Everybody imagined themselves special, privileged, exempt.
take a writer away from his typewriter / and all you have left / is / the sickness / which started him / typing / in the / beginning.
every person, I suppose, has / their eccentricities / but in an effort to be / normal / in the world’s / eye / they overcome them / and therefore / destroy their / special calling.
it / takes / a lot of // desperation // dissatisfaction // and disillusion // to / write //a / few / good / poems.
and the years move slow and the years / move fast and the years move / past.
you were / nature’s / idiot, / not proving but / being / proved. / not a man but a / plan / unfolding, / not thrusting but / being / pierced.
they become unalive / because they are unable to / pause / undo themselves / unkink / unsee / unlearn / roll clear.
People waited all their lives. They waited to live, they waited to die. They waited in line to buy toilet paper. They waited in line for money. And if they didn’t have any money they waited in longer lines. You waited to go to sleep and then you waited to awaken. You waited to get married and you waited to get divorced. Your waited for it to rain, you waited for it to stop. You waited to eat and then you waited to eat again.
People who solved things usually had lots of persistence and some good luck. If you persisted long enough, the good luck usually came. Most people couldn’t wait on the luck, though, so they quit.
When love burns to the ground do not be ashamed of your grief, or even your madness or bitterness.
When you go up fast, you usually come down that way.
only time poetry gets any good is when it forgets its holiness.
there is nothing to declare here, / just a waiting. / each faces it alone.
we are destroyed by expecting / more than there is
for want of something to do / we keep slaying our small dragons / as the big one waits.
lay down and wait until it charges then you / must get / up / face it get / it before it gets / you
Any time you pay somebody to tell you what to do you are going to be a loser. And this includes your psychiatrist, your psychologist, your broker, your workshop teacher and your etc. There is nothing that teaches your more than regrouping after failure and moving on. Yet most people are stricken with fear. They fear failure so much that they fail. They are too conditioned, too used to being told what to do. It begins with the family, runs through school and goes into the business world.
We move toward the mirage, our lives wasted like everybody else’s.
There are thousands of traps in life and most of us fall into many of them. The idea though, is to stay out of as many of them as possible. Doing so helps you remain as alive as you might until you die.
Most of them speak what they have been taught, not what they have learned. And what they lack most are two things: gamble and humor.
You have to know when to duck and when to swing and how to say ’’no.’’
If I’ve learned anything through the years it’s that people don’t change very much.
Even if you feel like it, even if you mean it, when you get into moralizing you are begging off. Always stay beyond good and evil, just photograph the action and leave the reader on his own.
Leaving this will not be a horrible thing. Yet I’m glad, somehow, that I threw my few words into the air: confetti, celebrating nothing.
They have no idea where it comes from. It comes from pain, damnation and impossibility. The blow to the soul of the gut. It comes from getting burned and seared and slugged. It comes from being too alive in the middle of death.
Life keeps nipping you at the balls to let you know where it’s at. It’s painful but it might be worth it. The whole scheme operates on a system of balances. Too much pain and travail can take you out too. The gods give those they favor the proper dosages.
It’s better to fail your way than to succeed their way.
It’s day by day with me and all I want to do is play it loose and free.
I always figure if a writer is bored with his work / the reader is going to be / bored too. // and I don’t believe in / perfection, I believe in keeping the / bowels loose
to endure is only / meaningful / if you come out / with / something / at the other / end. / but to endure / simply in order to / endure / is the unfortunate / plight / of millions.
seagulls / are mad angels / trying to tell us something.
don’t feel sorry for me. / I am a competent, / satisfied human being. // be sorry for the others / who / fidget / complain // who / constantly / rearrange their / lives / like / furniture. // juggling mates / and / attitudes // their / confusion is / constant // and it will / touch / whoever they / deal with. // beware of them: / one of their / key words is / ’’love.’’ // and beware those who / only take / instructions from their / God // for they have / failed completely to / live their own / lives.
magic persists with / or without us / no matter how / we may try to / destroy it
I never stop women when they / want to / leave. / I figure if they are dumb enough / to leave me / they don’t deserve / me.
the most terrible thing about life / is finding it gone.
Those constipated minds that seek / larger meaning / will be dispatched with the other / garbage. / back off. / if there is light / it will find / you.